SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The actions of two police officers who shot and killed a Cross Lanes man early Tuesday morning after he was acting erratically were "flawless" in a tough situation, said South Charleston Police Brad Rinehart.
"Police often get criticized, but these officers used incredible restraint during this situation," Rinehart said of his officers.
South Charleston Police shot and killed Tommy Gene Ransbottom II, 40, of Cross Lanes after he allegedly refused to surrender and pointed a gun at two South Charleston officers.
Rinehart said that his department will not release the name of the two officers who fired shots Tuesday.
"It's not hiding anything. These officers have some rights to privacy. They were put in a very serious situation and did nothing wrong," he said. "They showed a lot of courage in a very dangerous situation. They did everything right in my opinion. They were backed in to a corner and they exhausted all efforts they had."
Rinehart said both the city and the police department's thoughts are with Ransbottom's family.
"I think it's safe to say that incident yesterday did not end the way we really wanted it to, but sometimes in police work, you have to deal with the cards you've been dealt," Rinehart said.
Around 10 p.m. on Monday evening, South Charleston Police and the Kanawha County Sheriff's Department started indirectly dealing with Ransbottom, after being notified by Kanawha County Metro 911 that he had been making threats before firing his gun seven times into the area in front of family members.
"You've got to wonder as a policeman if he is acting this way in front of his family members ... how he's going to act when he encounters other people," Rinehart said.
Police heard numerous reports about Ransbottom's behavior through the evening, including that he was maybe going to crash a car and then fire upon officers when they approached the crash scene.
"There were several things circling, so the officers did know throughout the night. [Ransbottom] had suicidal thoughts. He made statements of suicide by cop. He had a gun in his possession and he had fired that gun," Rinehart said.
The first time South Charleston officers actually encountered Ransbottom was later in the evening during a traffic stop on Village Drive.
"There were a lot of decisions being made in a short period of time. Fortunately they got the car stopped," he said.
Six South Charleston police officers in five cruisers cornered Ransbottom's car in the parking lot of Rock Lake Presbyterian Church on Village Drive and Rock Lake Drive at about 1 a.m. Tuesday.